Tunisian Islamist party says time to ‘bury’ democracy

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Tunisian women, members of the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, attend a speech at the party headquarters in the Tunis suburb of Ariana. (AFP)
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Tunisian women, members of the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, attend a speech at the party headquarters in the Tunis suburb of Ariana. (AFP)
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Tunisian women, members of the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, attend a speech at the party headquarters in the Tunis suburb of Ariana. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2017

Tunisian Islamist party says time to ‘bury’ democracy

TUNIS: The Tunisian branch of the radical Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which calls for Islamic law and wants to unify Muslims into a caliphate, said Saturday it was time to “bury” democracy.
“Democracy no longer attracts anyone,” the movement’s politburo chief Abderraouf Amri told its annual conference.
“It is time to announce its death and work to bury it.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in several countries and Tunisian authorities regularly accuse it of “disturbing public order.”
Hundreds of party members took part in the congress near Tunis, praising “the caliphate, savior of humanity” and denouncing “persecution” by the democratic system.
It said it was the victim of “attempts to prohibit and hinder” its activities.
Mehdi Ben Gharbia, a minister overseeing relations with civil society, said he had filed a request earlier this month for a one-month suspension of the group’s activities over its “attacks against Tunisia’s republican system.”
Tunisia’s government in September asked a military court to outlaw the movement, created in the 1980s but only legalized in 2012 following the overthrow the previous year of longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Interior Minister Hedi Majdoub has called the group “a party that does not recognize the civilian character of the state.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s 2016 Tunisian conference was banned for “security reasons.”
Tunisia has been in a state of emergency since a deadly 2015 jihadist attack against presidential guards.


UK govt: British women strip-searched in Qatar

Updated 34 min 9 sec ago

UK govt: British women strip-searched in Qatar

  • London describes incident as ‘unacceptable’
  • Strip-search took place in Doha airport

LONDON: British authorities have formally registered concerns with Qatar following reports that two women who are UK nationals were strip-searched in Doha.

The forced medical examinations were carried out in Doha airport after authorities discovered a newborn baby in a bin.

This, it is claimed, prompted them to conduct “urgently decided” intrusive examinations, described as “absolutely terrifying” by one of 13 Australian women on a flight to Sydney who were subjected to them.

The British women were part of a group that was forced to disembark flights before having their underwear removed for a female medical professional to carry out an examination assessing if they had recently given birth.

The complaint was registered by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which said in a statement: “We are providing ongoing support to two British women following an incident in Doha. We have formally expressed our concern with the Qatari authorities and Qatar Airways and are seeking assurances an unacceptable incident like this cannot happen again.”

Australian officials said passengers from 10 flights leaving Doha on Oct. 2 were subjected to the ordeal.

“The advice that has been provided indicates that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent,” said a spokeswoman for the office of Australia’s foreign minister.

Sources familiar with the incident have said the newborn is alive and in care, and the mother has not been identified.